We are tingling with excitement in the Joe Zone as we launch our newest series in informative blogs (or web toots, as we call them in the JZ). Sound the trumpets and blast the bagpipes, here comes “English as a First Language” (EFL). We’re so excited, we’ve quivered our liver with a righteous shiver right out of our abdomen, and down our leg onto the floor. Hang on, I need to grab some paper towels.
In addition to the Joe Zone’s “Startling Science” series bringing you all the latest lowdown on that heady scientific jazz, we’re now also going to wake up, dust off, and polish your language skills such as you never thought possible. We’re going to clarify your clauses, pump up your participles, and juice up your gerunds into the high octane zone like you always dreamed of, but were afraid to hope for. (Holy preposition! This is insane!) Yes, I once had the language skills of a paramecium, but I elevated myself to at least the level of a slug, if not a sloth. And I can turn you into a sloth as well! I know it’s possible, because my pet paramecium recently signed a three-book deal with a major publisher, for a vampire protozoa series.
As a first principle, we must realize that English is serious business. Just ask the English. If you can’t communicate your thoughts, then what, or feelings too, in a clear way, so all can maybe know, or at least guess, or have a clue, of you, – right? Good, we’re on the same pages.
Of course, the principal enemy of developing clear communication and mastering the mystery of the English language is that vile practice that has spread like a rotting fungus in the moist recesses of our dank basements and – wait a minute, I need to throw out this salad. Anyway, I am, of course, speaking of texting. Most people these days are texting of speaking, but that’s the whole problem.
Research at the University of Punxsutawney Cerebral and Highly Unctuous College of Knowledge (UPCHUCK – the Fighting Queasy Woodchucks) shows that texting rots brain cells associated with language skills. In fact, in cases of extreme texting, the brain short-circuits, bursts into flames, melts, flows down the spinal column, and shoots out the navel, often jetting ten or more metric feet horizontally. This can be embarrassing to the texter if it happens during a social situation. Fortunately, extreme texters are almost never in social situations.
Equally disturbing is the finding that 40% of those who experienced brain melt exhibited a noticeable decline in language skills. For the remaining 60%, no change was detected, and they continued texting as before.
With our riveting preamble out of the way (OK, we also did a little post-ambling), we now present our painless, easy-to-digest morsel of eminently edible English.
YOUR: Belongs to you, as in “that was your mistake, not mine.” (Extracted from recent Congressional hearings.)
YOU’RE: Short for you are, as in “you’re surely mistaken about my involvement in that.” (Yes, Congress again.)
YORE: Long ago, as in “we promised you could keep your healthcare plan from days of yore.” (Yep, again.)
YOI: Gadzooks, as in “yoi, more people were attacked by queasy woodchucks than signed up for Unobtainable Care on the first day of the website rollout.”
Pop quiz! Which of these statements is correct (in the non-political sense):
1. Your in the money.
2. You’re in the money.
3. Yore in the money.
4. Urine the money.
5. They all mean the same thing.
6. It doesn’t matter – everyone nose what I mean.
The answer is left as an exercise for the reader, and right as rain for all to see. Just don’t copy off someone else. I know that is frowned on in today’s society, and almost never happens, except for those who are in school.
So – wasn’t that an easy lesson? Join us in our next enthralling installment of EFL, as we tackle the thorny issue of its and it’s – does it matter witch won is used? Ore are they both knew?